The Hair Dictionary: What Is A Hair Mousse?

Roller sets, wash-and-gos, twist outs, braid outs, box braids – these are just some of the hairstyles that can utilize the hair mousse.

However, perhaps this product has always been a mystery to you. What is it? What do you do with it? Does it actually work? These are all questions you may have always asked when regarding the hair mousse.

Well, if you’re finally looking for answers to these burning questions, then keep reading for the scoop on all things hair mousse!

What Is a Hair Mousse?

A hair mousse is a styling product with a very watery substance that turns into a foam when dispensed out of their containers. In fact, water is the base ingredient for a hair mousse and is used as a binder for any other ingredients that might be added.

Hair mousse is typically lightweight and can aid in combating frizz. Many hair mousses now contain great ingredients for your hair, such as nourishing oils and proteins. The list of what a hair mousse can do for your hair can include; add body, volume, act as a heat protectant, smooth frizz, and enhance natural curls.

Wash-and-go using a hair mousse

Critical Ingredients to Dodge in a Hair Mousse?

A hair mousse is not a one size fits all hair product. Each mousse may have a different formulation to achieve specific claims. Some mousse’s focus on volume, while others are meant to tame your curls. Then some leave your hair stiff and crunchy, while others leave your hair light and moveable.

As with any hair product, however, there are some ingredients that you may want to look out for when scouring the shelves for the perfect hair mousse.

You should be cautious of a couple of crucial ingredients when searching for your own hair mousse. These ingredients can have damaging long-term effects on your hair.

Isopropyl Alcohol

This kind of alcohol is pretty much a no, no for all air products. Just think about what alcohol does; it dries things out. Therefore, using products with alcohol in them will do the same.

Some hair mousses will include alcohol in their ingredients because it helps the hair mousse dry quickly on your hair. Fast dry time might be nice, but it is not worth it when considering the health of your hair.


If you’ve ever tried a hair mousse and were turned off by the sticky residue left behind, this is all due to the polymers. They can leave a sticky coating on your hair like a hairspray. Not only is the feeling of the coating not great, but this coating can make your hair very dry and stiff.

Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS)

Makes your hair dry and causes a lot of breakages.


This ingredient does not evaporate from the hair very quickly and can make your hair extremely dry. Over time you’ll experience breakage along with a list of other issues.

How to Use a Hair Mousse?

Wash-and-go using a hair mousse

Hair mousse has many purposes. It can be used to simply set a style, add volume, or define your natural curls. One of the best ways hair mousse can be used for natural hair is to define and provide hold to your natural curls.

Using a hair mousse on wash and go’s is a great way to do this. You can apply your moisturizing products as usual. To decrease frizz, add hold, and definition, you can use a hair mousse on top.

Whether you decide to replace your gels and curling creams with your mousse entirely or simply add it to the end of your wash-and-go routines is completely up to you and doable either way.

You’ll find that for looser curls, your hair will benefit from using hair mousse alone, while for tighter curls, you may want to use a gel first and place a hair mousse on top. For example, YouTuber Faceovermatter can be seen using the Texture ID Styling Foam to add extra hold to her curls along with Eco Styling Gel.

Although, a hair mousse is good to be used on more than just wash-and-gos. There are several other ways a hair mousse can be used on your natural hair, such as for twist outs, braid outs, and roller sets. By applying the hair mousse before doing the style, you can create an excellent hold for the style and provide longevity.

Hair Mousse vs. Other Styling Products?

Hair mousses are a great option for natural hair if you’re looking for something with a light hold or if you’re reinforcing any holding products you already have in your hair. There are even hair mousses that provide some curl definition and reduce frizz. You may be curious about how a hair mousse can compete or compare to your favorite styling products.

Hair mousse vs. styling gel

Compared to a styling gel – Comparing it to a gel, a hair mousse is not as thick and firm holding. You can find extra hold hair mousses; however, if you have frizzy coils, a hair mousse will not provide as much of a firm hold as a gel might.

Hair mousse vs. styling cream

Compared to a styling cream – Comparing a hair mousse to a curling cream, it will not only have a more watery consistency but will lack the same amount of moisture. However, if you are looking for a light holding styling product to add on top of moisturized hair, a hair mousse will serve you fine.

The Best Hair Mousses for Natural Hair?

With all of the increasing options, finding the perfect hair mousse for your natural hair has become even more painless.

Texture ID Styling Foam

This Texture ID Styling Foam is a lightweight, alcohol-free hair mousse that is perfect for your natural curls. It includes many healthy ingredients such as aloe vera, honey, and several nutrient-rich oils. The mousse is also a great heat protectant for temperatures as high as 450 degrees.

Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse

SheaMoisture Curl Mousse for Frizz Control Coconut and Hibiscus with Shea Butter


This hair mousse by Shea Moisture will leave your hair soft and movable while also providing a natural hold. This mousse is perfect for naturally enhancing your curl pattern. The combination of neem and coconut oil smooths your hair strands while adding moisture.

Crème of Nature Argan Oil Style and Shine Foam

Creme of Nature Argan Oil Style and Shine Foaming Mousse


This hair mouse will not only define your curls and combat any frizz, but it will add touchable softness to your natural hair. The Moroccan argan oil used in the foam’s formula will bring necessary moisture and shine to any style.

Almond and Avocado Curl Enhancing Mousse

Design Essentials Natural Curl Enhancing Hair Mousse

Design Essentials Natural Curl Enhancing Mousse


This frizz-free hair mousse promises curl-enhancing properties with a fast-drying formula. The mousse provides smoothness and shine to any curl type and will add intense moisture. With ingredients such as avocado, almond, and olive oil, your hair will reap many benefits.

Pros and Cons of the Hair Mousse?


  • A hair mousse won’t weigh your hair down compared to other styling products.
  • A hair mousse will easily apply to all curl types.
  • If you purchase the right mousse, you won’t feel any residue or oils on your hair like other styling products.


  • A hair mousse may not provide a firm hold for natural curls and lack in the curl definition department. Many mousses will help curl definition, but it will not be as defining as a gel depending on your hair’s coarseness.
  • Many hair mousses lack enough moisture for it to be your sole source of moisture.
  • Hair mousses don’t hold up well against humidity.
Traneah Ford

By Traneah Ford

Traneah is a content writer based in St.louis, MO. She also writes for the Arkansawyer newspaper, a campus-based newspaper for The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Bio